I wish I had more time and brain power to consume other people's blogs because when I do, I come across provocative and revealing entries like these two about class:Keeping San Francisco Safe From Prostitutes?
Melissa wrote this back when SF voters had the chance to decriminalize prostitution. They didn't, of course, and her post explains a lot of reasons why even a supposedly-progressive, liberal, educated population is ignorant and afraid of sex workers running amok:
"The biggest opposition to Prop K isnít anti-prostitution feminist groups. Itís 'neighborhood associations.' Unlike even the most socially conservative feminists, they never say, I donít want sex workers to be raped. They say, I donít want to see sex workers. Donít want to see them on their front steps. Donít want to see their clients or 'pimps'. Donít want to see condoms, or syringes. In short: donít want to see poverty, donít want to see poor people. . . . What K opponents will never say in public, is that itís not prostitutes that are hard to live next to ó itís poverty."
On a more personal note, Amber Rhea posted an extremely intimate entry yesterday sharing her memories of class-consciousness developing
in childhood and young adulthood and reflections on all of that jazz (like how attending private school probably saved her life).
"My mom was a bartender until I was 7 or 8 years old. When Iíd go spend the night at friendsí houses, Iíd take my toiletries in a purple Crown Royal bag (we always had tons of them around the house). We also had a lot of extra beer/liquor T-shirts that I used as nightshirts . . . . it wasnít until I was in my teens that it dawned on me why [my friends'] parents might think itís weird for a 7-year-old to carry a Crown Royal bag and sleep in a Finlandia T-shirt."
Without going into a lot of detail (just because I don't have time to write that book right now), I can't overemphasize how much my socioeconomic background shaped my identity and values. More than being female. More than being white. Even though both of those things are a big huge intrinsic part of it, the money stuff and place my family occupied (pretty low down) in the hierarchy colors the way I see and respond to pretty much everything, I think, and in such insidious ways that I'm constantly chipping away at my lack of awareness at how deep it goes and how far back and how much it continues to effect my options and choices today.
Sometimes I feel like discussions about race and gender are just big polarizing distractions to keep us from addressing the BIGGER, all-encompassing issue of class. They're not, but sometimes I feel that way (and I know some other people do, too).
A related note: right now I resent the way blame is laid for the recession. Instead of saying that banks ass-raped tons of people who probably COULD have made their mortgage payments if not for the usury/deception/inflated interest rates and doubled/trebled payments, every comment seems designed to tell us that banks simply LENT MONEY TO POOR PEOPLE. Like, THAT was the big mistake. As though those borrowers could never have made FAIR payments on mortgages with FAIR terms. As though people wouldn't have felt the need to take out second and third mortgages to be able to pay credit cards with ludicrous, unjustifiably-high, ass-raping interest rates.
The mainstream discussion about it and language referring to sub-prime mortgages, etc. is all backwards; it *pretends* to call the lending institutions and big mucky-mucks greedy while using language that continues to make it sound like the banks' problems were making bad bets on bad people, when really they fucked vulnerable people dry, butt-ramming them straight into the ground. Let's just bleed these people dry.
When you make financially troubled people pay exorbitantly high interest rates and double their minimum payments, etc. what the fuck do you THINK will happen? Unless they win the lottery, they'll never be able to keep up or dig themselves out of the deep grave the lenders dug for them.I'm not making these comments as someone who thinks she has all the answers or understands the complexity of all of it or is well-read on the subject. I'm making them as an average joe butt plumber based on her own experiences with banks and mainstream exposure to superficial news with a little bit of deeper reading here and there. My intention isn't to spark a big-ass discussion about it, just web-log some stuff. The above paragraphs are only a small chunk of reflection, not a complete or coherent argument. I won't publish comments from people assuming I'm claiming to be an expert or assuming that because I haven't written this or that or included another bit or piece, that I must not agree with this or that bit or piece, nor will I publish comments demonstrating a lack of comprehension regarding what I already wrote. HATE that.
For the record, my interest isn't really in "punishing" rich people (even when they DO *deserve* to be hung from the highest tree) or placing limits on how much money people can make, it's on making fair regulations and restrictions on how deeply people can be abused. It's on little things that would change a lot. LIKE NOT LETTING CREDIT CARD COMPANIES MAKE YOUR PAYMENT DUE ON A WEEKEND OR HOLIDAY, THEN CHARGING YOU A LATE FEE AND RAISING YOUR INTEREST RATE BECAUSE YOU FAILED TO PAY ON TIME WHEN YOUR PAYMENT ARRIVES ON THE NEXT BUSINESS DAY FOLLOWING THE DAY THEY DEMANDED YOUR PAYMENT, BUT CAN'T EVEN RECEIVE IT/WON'T EVEN PROCESS IT. It's a pretty fucking simple matter -- we have the technology at this point to automatically reject a date that is a holiday or weekend and chose either an earlier or a later date, or to have a FAIR regulation that doesn't even ALLOW lending institutions to punish you for not delivering a payment on a day when delivery of said payment IS IMPOSSIBLE.
Seriously. I don't understand why everyone isn't talking about things like this. Everyone. All day. Until something happens.
Just one example. I know *some* people are talking about it some of the time, but it's not on headline news, etc. every five seconds the way Chris Brown is. Instead everyone just ignores and skirts around these tangible, obvious bits of fuckery. It just keeps adding up, but I don't hear anything except "bail out". If anyone has links to proposed regulations tightening this shit up, I'd love to read it because as it is right now I'm too busy bitching about it to look the shit up (I know! I'm an ass!). I know awhile back congress was talking about putting an end to the credit card companies burying high interest rate balances under the lower interest rate balances, but I don't know whatever became of that/if they are in fact now forced to automatically apply payments to the balances with the highest interest rates first.
Why am I still sitting here blogging about this? Seriously, all I was going to do was post two links. Gaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh . . . hate myself for not keeping up with the news on this stuff better.
Labels: class, links, money, politics, rants, sex work, sociopolitical commentary